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'Everyone was wearing flares and cheesecloth shirts'


Trevor Sargent

Trevor Sargent

Trevor Sargent

Former Green Party politician Trevor Sargent has school trips to Bull Island and Booterstown Marsh to thank for his passion for the environment.

Where did you go to school?

I went to the High School in Rathgar. When I started there it was an all-male school, but it changed to co-ed.

That was nice.

In a way it was quite traumatic [laughs] and took a bit of getting used to. But people settled down quite quickly.

Did it have much of an impact?

One thing that changed was that the girls were more interested in study and that tended to create more academic diligence in the male pupils [laughs].

Do we teach enough about climate change?

No. The centrality of the issues are not appreciated. As Al Gore said, it is still an inconvenient truth.

What type of student were you?

I wasn't naturally an 'A' student but ended up in the 'A' stream by sheer hard work.

That must have been difficult.

It cost me my greatest interest at the time, which was art. Back then 'A' students did Latin and Greek and 'B' students studied art. Thankfully that has changed.

Did you give up art altogether?

No, I studied art myself and did it in the Inter Cert. I am glad I kept it up because I was able to illustrate my book Trevor's Kitchen Garden.

Nice plug! What teacher made the biggest impact on you?

Mrs Williams my maths teacher set up a Young Ornithologists' Club and organised trips to Bull Island and Booterstown Marsh. To me that was manna from heaven.

Any cringeworthy fashion moments?

[Laughs] Everyone was wearing flares and cheesecloth shirts with big lapels.

Nice! Now, tell us a secret.

I remember writing to Eamon de Valera in the late '60s to ask for his autograph and he sent back my autograph book with his signature. And I still have it.

Irish Independent